‘Air Jaws,’ ‘Orca vs. Great White’ & More Specials Celebrating Superlatives

orca vs great white
Preview
National Geographic

These Shark Week and SharkFest programs celebrate superlatives. In the splashy, Olympics-inspired Air Jaws: Going for Gold (Monday, July 12, 8/7c, Discovery), experts keep a leaderboard for breaching great whites in South Africa, awarding medals for speed, hang time and height. They capture the highest breach ever filmed in Chris Fallows’ popular Air Jaws franchise.

Dr. Tristan Guttridge and conservationist James Glancy attempt one of the longest dives in The Great Hammerhead Stakeout (Sunday, July 18, Discovery+). Rather than surface during their 10-hour mission to find out why critically endangered great hammerheads are congregating at Andros Island in the Bahamas, the Brits rest (and enjoy a cup of tea!) in a tentlike underwater break room.

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The ocean’s fiercest face-off is the focus of Orca vs. Great White (Tuesday, July 6, 10/9c, National Geographic). Knowing killer whales in South Africa have preyed on great whites for their calorie-packed liver, shark cinematographer Kina Scollay teams with orca specialist Dr. Ingrid Visser in New Zealand to look for evidence that may suggest the battle has begun there.

Consider the six-episode competition series Shark Academy (Sunday, July 11, Discovery+) the most dangerous job interview. Dr. Reilly Elliott gives eight shark enthusiasts — with backgrounds including fashion and accounting — a six-week crash course in bravery, research, and living together on a vessel. Only one earns a spot on a future expedition.